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Alweendo positive B2Gold Otjikoto Solar Farm will deliver

by Rodney Pienaar

The minister of mines has said that the recently opened B2Gold Otjikoto Solar Farm will deliver positive environmental and social impacts likely to outlive the life of the mine.

The new solar farm facility is said to be reducing energy costs by 14%.

“It is a significant contribution for the nation’s attempts to find sustainable energy solutions. The facility at Otjikoto is one of the first fully-autonomous hybrid plants in the world. It will allow it to reduce fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from the site's current 24MW, heavy fuel oil power plant,” he said.

He added that the opening follows the Vancouver-based miners breaking ground on the construction of the $8.5 million, 7megawatt (MW) photovoltaic (PV) solar power plant last year at the mine.

The facility is also expected to improve B2Gold’s economic returns, reduce impacts on the environment and become a potential funding source for community development.

According to a press statement released by B2Gold, funds generated by this asset could be used to support ongoing corporate social responsibility activities in the region long after the mine’s shut down.

The statement further states that B2Gold gained access to the Otjikoto mine in Namibia, through its acquisition of Auryx Gold in 2011 and it currently owns other four producing gold mines and  has two projects in its pipeline: Kiaka in Burkina Faso, and Gramalote, a joint venture with AngloGold Ashanti (NYSE: AU) in Colombia.